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CNN Today

Fatal Shark Attack Stuns Florida Community

Aired August 31, 2000 - 1:06 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities in Florida are investigating what appears to be a deadly shark attack off Saint Petersburg. It happened in the Intracoastal Waterway, where sharks are very rarely seen and shark attacks are almost unheard of.

We get the details from Mark Wilson of CNN affiliate WTVT in Tampa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK WILSON, WTVT REPORTER (voice-over): 69-year-old Thadeus Kubinski, taken from his family doing something he loved.

EDWARD KUBINSKI, VICTIM'S SON: My father jumped in, and within a few minutes of jumping in and swimming no further than maybe 5-10 feet from the dock, was immediately attacked.

WILSON: His grown sons, Edward and Richard, struggled to make sense of such a stunning and violent death. Then there's Thad's wife. She was in the water with him.

E. KUBINSKI: She said there was a fight. Now exactly how much of a fight that was, I don't know. I didn't know if it was a two- minute fight, a five-minute fight. I don't really -- she was pretty much in panic, and she thought the best thing to do was get out of the water, run to the phone, dial for help.

Help came, but Thad died in the water. Paramedics say it was a large, severe wound to his upper body, indicating a larger-than-usual shark.

A chaplain reached the scene before dark offering last rights while others who frequent these waters could only shake their heads.

CHIEF FRED GOLLINER, ST. PETE BEACH FIRE DEPARTMENT: I've worked for the city of St. Pete Beach for 25 years, and throughout my career I've never had an incident occur like this before in the past, and I know of none in this area.

GARY LONG, VICTIM'S NEIGHBOR: It's hard to believe we kayak here almost every other day, and we've never seen a shark and never heard of anyone seeing a shark. So it's something -- it's hard to believe.

WILSON: It's been close to 20 years since the last fatal shark attack in the Tampa Bay area. Even then, that was along the Gulf side, not along the normally quiet and shallow Intracoastal Waterway.

Marine unites from the sheriff's office spent much of the evening patrolling the waters behind Kubinski's home. But there's little that can be done to ease this family's pain.

RICHARD KUBINSKI, VICTIM'S SON: I really don't know what to say. It's my dad and I just hope you all keep me in your prayers tonight. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, there have been 22 confirmed shark attacks in all of Florida this year. None of those, however, was fatal.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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